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High Surface Area Carbon and Process for its production

Technology:

Background: Dried crushed corncobs are converted to activated carbon in a multi-step process. Preferred carbons have BET-estimated surface areas in excess of 3000 m2/g. Some of the carbon embodiments adsorb >20% of their weight in methane (ambient T 500 psig) or >6% of their weight in hydrogen (77 K 500 psig). These high performance abilities are attributed to the novel mesopore and nanopore characteristics. Consumers need a vehicle fuel that is inexpensive environmentally friendly and domestically produced natural gas fits this bill but its energy density is far inferior to gasoline. So the market needs is a way to increase the energy density of natural gas and hydrogen. Improving density by storing natural gas at high pressures is not ideal because thick-walled tanks are needed to contain the high pressure and these thick-walled tanks are heavy they occupy significant volumes and they are not conducive to being flat or being placed in unused spaces within a vehicle. Technology Description: At current fuel prices replacing gasoline and diesel with NG would save the U.S. over $300B per year. Missouri could supply the corncob for ANG tanks of 20 million cars per year and the NG could be produced domestically. The national goal of replacing 30% of transportation fuels with biofuels (bioethanol biodiesel) by 2030 set by the DOE in 2006 is a distant one. For NG and hydrogen the fuel is here — 85% of the NG used in the US is domestic; 2010 estimates show that the US has well over 120 years of proven NG reserves; and the cheapest way to make hydrogen is from NG. NG is an immediately practical fuel with an existing infrastructure. Applications: Uses of this carbon include storage of gases adsorption/removal of metal adsorption/removal of VOCs cleanup of natural gas cleanup of landfill gas catalyst supports and electrode assemblies for electrochemical devices. In every application tested these materials outperformed the best available material as reported in the literature (natural gas storage hydrogen storage electrodes catalyst support adsorption of metals from aqueous solutions).

Benefits:

Provides more storage and/or adsorption in a given space and/or with a given amount of adsorbent.

Date of release: